On Feb. 21, 2003, 1st Lt. Tim McLaughlin, a 25-year-old Marine platoon commander deployed to the Kuwaiti desert, wrote his initial entry in what would become a remarkable diary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq that spring. "The best writing advice I have been given is just to write," he began. "There will be plenty of time to edit and stylize it later."
McLaughlin is a walk-on to history. His diary begins at the Pentagon on the morning of the 9/11 attacks, jumps to his deployment in Kuwait, follows him into battle during the invasion of Baghdad, and recounts the moment his own American flag was draped over the statue of Saddam Hussein in Firdos Square -- an iconic image of the U.S. invasion. But the diary is much more than just a retelling of the early days of the Iraq war: It's at times wryly funny, tragic, brutal -- and, above all, honest.
Foreign Policy is pleased to present the Iraq War Diaries of Lt. Tim McLaughlin, along with commentary and articles from journalist Peter Maass, photographs from Gary Knight, and videos of McLaughlin himself, reading entries from his journals some 10 years after he found himself, one spring morning, rolling through the desert toward Baghdad.
Above: McLaughlin's operations journal from the war, with a quote from the Johnny Cash song "The Man Comes Around."
See the entire Iraq War Diaries project, here.